What happened: The Portland Thorns beat the North Carolina Courage 1-0 in Orlando, Fla., to win their second National Women's Soccer League Championship.

Thorns superfan Jonanna Widner was one of nearly 200 Portlanders who flew across the country and crowded into budget motels to see the Thorns win the national championship.

"Considering the atmosphere that we're living in right now," Widner says, "seeing the strength and confidence of women achieving something and really owning it unapologetically—that keeps me going."

Why it mattered: The passionate dedication of Thorns fans is nothing new. They've been packing Providence Park since the team was founded in 2012, at rates that dwarf the number of supporters of any other women's soccer team in the world.

But 2017 was rough. Through it all, those matches were a beacon of feminist solidarity—a place where even the losses were worthy of celebration, a respite for little girls or anyone who needed to see the strength of women in action.

Nadia Nadim (Corri Goates)
Nadia Nadim (Corri Goates)

And on Oct. 14, the Thorns repaid their fans for all that support, delivering the kind of win that had eluded the city's better-known professional sports teams.

Widner recalls one moment that helps explain fans' extreme loyalty. After scoring in a game during the regular season, Thorns forward Nadia Nadim turned to the crowd and beat her chest with her fists.

"To see that, in the face of Donald Trump, in the face of the #MeToo movement, to see a woman own her own power—the crowd feeds off that," Widner says. "And then imagine a 12-year-old girl in the stands who sees that and understands that it's OK for her to do too."